Welcome to the world of gel blasting! Put a day out shooting at friends on your post-Covid bucket list, you’re in for a world of fun!
Gel blasting is a relatively new entry into the Close Quarters Battle (CQB) type game. Similar to paintball and airsoft, you shoot gel balls at the opposing team.
Gel balls hurt way less than paintballs and are almost all water with biodegradable polymers.
Gel blasting is a relatively new game played in a CQB (Close Quarters Battle) skirmish. It is similar to paintball but follows an airsoft-like honour-based game, as players show no signs of getting shot.
Gel blaster guns shoot 7 to 8mm biodegradable gel balls. They cause less pain if hurt as compared to paintballs and are made up of water.
Although gel blasters are safe to use and have less impact on the body. Protective eyewear or safety goggles is the only protection necessary.
There is some controversy surrounding the irresponsible use of gel blaster guns, causing them to be illegal in some states.
History Of Gel Blasting And How It Got Into Australia
After the ban of airsoft in 2008, gel blasters and the game of gel blasting developed in China.
They rose up as a substitute for airsoft and foam dart guns. The popularity of gel blasters exploded in areas such as Malaysia, where airsoft-unfriendly laws prevailed.
Over the last few years there was maximum growth of gel blasters and gel blasting in Australia ‘s two prominent regions; named as South Australia and Queensland.
Prior to this gel balls were not considered ammunition and were being widely sold in commercial and household stores.
Instead, ACCC ASN/NZ 8124 classified gel blasters as legal toys for use and sale.
However, the Australian Border Force once conducted seizures on Armored Heaven’s Brad Towner, Tactical Edge’s Peter Clarke toy.
In addition, people from out of state were traveling into Queensland to buy gel blasters. But that were not legal in their own state.
Because of the realistic nature of the gel blaster, they can be easily mistaken as a real gun.
South Australia and Queensland soon had several criminal cases against people using gel blasters on pedestrians and the general public.
This might explain the strict legality surrounding gel blasters today.
RoboMaster S1, a famous ground drone by DJI, was banned while being imported to Australia, as the package contained a gel blaster.
Even today, RoboMaster S1 is not allowed to be sold in New South Wales and Victoria.
Is Gel Blasting Legal In All States?
SAPOL (South Australian Police), in October 2020, officially declared gel blasters as regulated imitation firearms, putting its possession and sale under the regulatory acts such as Firearms Regulations 2015 and 2017.
In addition, it was declared mandatory for every person to have the certification and Category. A firearm license within an amnesty period of 6 months, which commenced from October 8, 2020, and lasted till April 7, 2021.
Within those six months, if any person is unable to obtain either the license or the certification, then he/she needs to submit the unauthorized “gel blasters possessed by them ” either to a legal firearms dealer or a police station.
That effectively ended gel blasting in South Australia. All the appeals to loosen the laws and make them less stringent were ultimately rejected by the State Government.
These new regulations led to numerous protests. Queensland remained the only state in Australia where a person can use gel blasters without a license.
On jolly 3, 2021 Gel blasters were banned in Western Australia , as the realistic gel blasters are often mistaken to be real guns.
As per the law if a person is found with gel blasters in the provinces of Western Australia, he will face significant time in jail followed by a fine ranging up to $36,000.
As of December 2021, Queensland is the only state that you can own a gel blaster without applying for a license or registering the gun.
The only condition is that you have to store and transport it concealed so as not to alarm the public.
Gel Blaster Laws In Tasmania
Gel blasters are realistic-looking replicas of real guns and can be used to mislead or threaten the public.
Cases of criminals using these guns for crimes climbed. The Firearms Act 1996 of Tasmania includes strict guidelines and rules against mimic weapons.
In August 2020, the Tasmanian Police deemed a gel blaster a firearm, banned all games, and called for the surrender of all blasters.
The government mentioned that if the gel blaster completely replicates the appearance of real firearms, then the person needs to inform the government and obtain a legal license.
A proper serial number and categorization are required for the same, in the case of gel blasters.
Gel Blaster Laws In Queensland
According to Section 67, the acquisition or possession of a restricted item is prohibited and illegal in the absence of any reasonable excuse. If someone fails to comply with it, the person would be charged with 10 penalty units ($1,334.50).
The amended February 2021 laws regarding gel blasters in Queensland state.
Gel blasters are the replica of firearms and aren’t categorized under any kind of weapon or firearm.
These replica firearms need not be registered, and the person owning it doesn’t need a license. Yay!
Possession and acquisition by legitimate retail outlets or members of a gel ball club are considered reasonable.
These are a few easy stipulations. The new amendments state that when a person isn’t using gel blasters, he/she can store it safely in a box or cupboard.
According to Section 142, the gel blaster has to be stored and transported in a locked container in such a way that it is out of sight of the public. A safe place to store or transport a gel blaster can be a car boot.
Gel Blaster Laws In Western Australia
Some recent incidents with gel blasters provoked a critical police reaction.
In 2020, officers were called to 147 gel blaster incidents while a pharmacy was held up with a toy gun, resulting in a police operation that lasted hours.
Police also obtained intelligence that criminal organizations were importing gel blasters and modifying them to turn them into workable weapons.
In addition, there was significant concern that someone holding a gel blaster would be mistakenly shot by the police.
The government passed the Weapons Act in July 2021, effectively banning gel blasters and calling for the surrender of all existing blasters.
Anyone found guilty will have a fine of up to $36,000 or face three years in prison.
Of course, this sparked an outcry of dissatisfaction from gel blasting enthusiasts.
Understandably so, why should a huge group of healthy, fun-loving players get their favorite pastime taken away because of the acts of criminals and irresponsible players?
Police Minister Paul Papalia is staunchly against gel blasters. He said that gel blasting was a “tragedy waiting to happen”. Because police officers were incapable of spotting the difference between a blaster and a real gun.
Gel Blaster Laws In New South Wales
You need a license in New South Wales to own a blaster.
Blasters and BB guns, although considered toys are actually imitation firearms because of their firing mechanism.
The law doesn’t differentiate between gel blasters, air rifles and any other gun that is considered an imitation firearm.
A person acquiring or possessing either any kind of firearm or imitation firearm must carry a valid license.
According to the Firearms Act, if a person acquires or possesses any kind of firearms without authorization, he/she is liable to a fine of up to $5,500 and imprisonment ranging from 5 to 14 years.
Gel Blaster Laws In Victoria
Due to the spike in home invasions and armed robberies, gel blasters are permitted only in Victoria with a valid collectors permit.
You’ll need to join an approved participating club or re-enactment club that deals with imitation weapons.
In Victoria, multiple cases were reported regarding the usage of a gel blaster to commit a serious crime.
Police Superintendent Dan Trimble said that many blasters replicated military-style weapons and were difficult to tell from the real thing.
He said that the blasters were used to commit serious crimes like home invasions, armed robberies, sieges, assaults, and drive-by shootings.
In January 2021, Southern Cross Station in Melbourne’s Central Business District was locked down after a man was spotted with a gel blaster.
After he was arrested, the police discovered the gel blaster and described it as “almost identical” to a real gun.
In September 2021, gel blasters were effectively banned.
Penalties for possessing or using a gel blaster.
Two years imprisonment and up to 10 years for someone with a criminal record.
If a person carries a gel blaster unconcealed to the public, he is liable to up to 2 years in jail.
Pointing a gel blaster at another person with prior permission will nab you up to 7 years in jail. Yikes.
Gel Blaster Laws In South Australia
You need to have a license for using gel blaster and the registration certificate of your gel blaster.
Before October 2020, a person could freely use gel blasters in South Australia without the need for a license.
However, in October 2020, gel blasters started being recognized as imitation firearms.
In October 2020, gel blasters were categorized as regulated imitation firearms in South Australia, and subject to the control, license, and requirements under the Firearms Acts of 2015 and the Firearms Regulations of 2017.
According to updated laws, although gel blasters are legal and can be acquired and possessed in South Australia, a person needs a license.
Gel blasters are now categorized as under-regulated imitation firearms. Every aspect of the blaster, starting right from the purchase, is under the control and regulations of the South Australian Firearms Act.
You cannot own a gel blaster in South Australia without a valid firearm license. In addition, the blaster must also have legal registration documents.
South Australian residents were given a 6 month amnesty period to surrender their guns to a police station, or apply for the relevant permits.
By then, gel blasters had become a popular sport, with over 60,000 estimated blasters in South Australia alone.
South Australian Police (SAPOL)
The South Australian Police (SAPOL) directed all owners to surrender the guns or apply for the necessary licenses.
You’ll need to fill up the PD303 Application Form and submit it to the local police station with an application fee of $100 and 100 identification points.
After this, you need to wait until the approval letter asking you to undergo a TAFE course arrives. The course is for 3 hours and costs about $55.
Once done, your instructor will post the results to SAPOL.
Then, you’ll have to wait for your data card to come from the Firearms Branch and take a photo with 100 points of original identification.
An interim license will be issued once your photo has been taken, and will be valid until the photo license is issued, or for up to 90 days.
In addition, you’ll have to register your gel blaster and have a serial number imprinted.
To register your gel blaster, you have to fill the PD306 Application Form and submit it for review to the police station.
After processing, the application form along with the serial number of the firearm and approval details, will be returned.
Once returned, the serial number must be engraved on the gel blaster.
You’ll have to report to the police along with the gel blaster and the form within 14 days with a registration fee of $40.
SAPOL Firearms Branch will then send you the registration certificate within a few days.
Congratulations! You are now free to possess and use the gel blaster at designated arenas, clubs, or fields.
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